Detecting Mammary Tumours in Dogs Before it is Too Late

Every year, thousands of female dogs are affected by mammary tumours. The risk of developing these tumours increases with age, making them most common in middle-aged and older dogs. Here, is your guide to detecting mammary tumours in dogs in the early stages

Detecting Mammary Tumours in Dogs

The most common symptoms are the appearance of one or more lumps in the breast tissue. About 70% of cases of mammary tumours involve multiple nodules once the disease is detected. Examine your dog regularly to identify any changes or lumps. Consult your veterinarian as soon as you notice any symptoms.   

How to Examine Mammary Tumours in Dogs? 

Make it a habit to feel your dog’s mammary glands at least once a month. Gently lay your dog on her side and feel along both mammary gland lines from the front legs to the groin. Look and feel for any swelling, lumps, or bumps. In the early stages, tumours can feel like small grains or gravel. 

What Does a Mammary Tumour in Dogs Feel Like? 

During the initial stages, mammary tumours can feel like small grains or gravel. The lumps usually appear in the rear parts of the mammary glands, but they can affect any part of the udder. It’s important to note that not all lumps or irregularities in the mammary glands are necessarily mammary tumours, as there can be other types of tumours in the area, such as skin tumours.  

Life Expectancy of a Dog with Mammary Tumour 

Approximately half of the tumours in the mammary glands are benign and have a good prognosis. However, malignant tumours can spread, including to the lungs, leading to a worse prognosis. Cell tests may provide guidance, but for an accurate diagnosis and prognosis, a tissue sample is required through surgery. 

Treatment for Dogs with Mammary Tumour 

Mammary tumour treatment usually involves surgery, varying from tumour removal to gland removal.

This depends on the size of the tumour, the type of operation, the dog’s age, and other factors. In some cases, X-rays of the lungs may be performed to check if the tumour has spread. The tumour is then sent for analysis to determine whether it is benign or malignant. Occasionally, a nearby lymph node is also removed to check for potential spread. On a case-to-case basis a simultaneous castration is carried out as it could have a positive effect on the survival of the dog. 

Risk Factors for a Dog with Mammary Tumour 

Mammary tumours are more common in female dogs that have not been spayed or were spayed at a later stage. The risk of developing these tumours increases with age, with the highest incidence in middle-aged and older dogs. However, the increase in risk starts as early as five or six years old. Some breeds are more susceptible than others. Early spaying can have a protective effect. 

By being proactive in examining your dog’s mammary glands regularly and seeking prompt veterinary attention if any abnormalities are detected, you can increase the likelihood of early detection and improve the chances of a positive outcome for your beloved pet.